There was an old man who lived in New York City,NY who decided to take his grandson on a trip to see where he was born in Italy. They were both excited about their journey together and boarded the ship and set sail for Italy. They were both having a great time until a horrible storm arose and the boat started to rock violently from side to side. The waves were so high that they crash down on even the highest part of the ship. The old man and the boy huddled in their room together and the old man prayed out loud for their safety. The young boy became agitated and asked the old man to stop praying and said "If God wanted to save us why would he ever send the storm?". The old man continued to pray silently and all the lights suddenly went off on the ship. There was a great crashing sound and horrible noises of metal tearing and men screaming. The ship was going down.
By the time the old man and the boy found the deck of the ship it was covered with water and the back of the ship was sinking quickly. They had the life jackets on they were able to find in their room and were saddened to see that no life boats had been loosen and dropped in the water. The boy became frantic but the old man said "My son, have Faith and God will provide". The boy just got angry and told his grandfather to "Get Real!" The ship continued to sink and the old man and the boy found themselves floating in the midst of debris. The storm was very fierce and all they could do was hold on to some of the deck furniture that was floating. The storm finally subsided and they old man thanked God for sparing them. The young boy became furious! He said "How can you thank a God who would do this to you!" The sun was rising and on the horizon they could see a ship. The old man prayed that the sip would see them and once again the young boy became furious at his prayers. The boy said "That ship is miles a way and there's NO WAY it will ever see us!" The old man noticed a pile of debris floating close to them and swam over to see if there was anything there that could help them. He found a small medicine cabinet and brought it back to the pile of debris that was now there floating home. The boy once again became angry and said “Just how in the world is that going to help us contact that ship?" The old man held the mirrored door up and the rising sun reflected off of the mirror towards the ship. The boy became puzzled because it seemed like there was a pattern to the way he was doing it. He finally asked "Why are you doing that pattern?" The old man said "I learned Morse Code in the navy and I'm sending a distress signal". The boy just laughed and laid down to get some sleep as they had been up all night.
The old man woke the boy and he became startled as they were staring at the side of a fishing ship and a smaller tending boat was there with 4 men asking them to come aboard. The were both greatly relieved and climbed aboard the tending boat and then the fishing ship. Once on board they were given some clothes to wear and some fish stew to eat. After they were done eating they were taken to the Captain's chambers. The Captain was a scary looking man with a long beard and seemed aggravated that he had to speak with them. He said "Stopping to retrieve the two of you has cost me valuable time and money! The owners of this ship would not be pleased with me!" The old man begged him for mercy and said "We will do whatever is required to make it up to you". The Captain said "You have a choice to make. You may stay on my ship and serve me the rest of your days or you can get back on the floating pile of debris and see if someone else will come by and save you?"
The old man instantly said "I will stay on your ship and serve you for the rest of my days. That is a small price to pay for saving my life!". The boy just scoffed and said "I am a young man with many years ahead of me! I will get back on that that floating debris until it reaches land somewhere and I will live a happy life and not be a slave to you!" The Captain complied and had the young boy taken to his "Floating Home" with some fresh water and provisions for a week or so". The old man hugged him and told him that he would pray unceasingly for his safe passage and the boy just laughed and said "I am a strong young man and I will be fine". The boy was fine for a week or so but he ate all of his provisions and drank all of his water to quickly. He became delusional and began screaming at God and slamming a stick against his chest and the water. When he thought he saw land on the horizon he jumped in the water and started swimming. He swam for what seemed ours and what he thought was land just disappeared. The boy was very weak and he breathed his last breath and disappeared beneath the dark ocean water.
The old man lived and worked on the ship for years without complaining.His days consisted of helping the cook in the galley and cleaning the Captain's chambers while he ate with his officers. He was never allowed to go into port but was always grateful for the life he was allowed to live. Over time the crew began asking the old man questions about this God he prayed to and why he was so content with his meager existence. He gladly took the time to share all of the great things that God has done for him including saving him from drowning. One day after he had done all of his work he returned to his bunk to find a brand new Bible there waiting for him. He fell to his knees and wept. It had been so long since the last time he was able to read God's word and he prayed a prayer of thanksgiving until he fell asleep.
Over the years most of the men on that ship were won for Christ. The Captain allowed the old man to lead a worship service in the galley on Sunday mornings and eventually he even allowed them to take a day off!You see...the Captain was astonished at how well his crew was working together and was very pleased with the old man.
The old man became very sick and the Captain was worried about him. The Captain came to him and asked if he should take him to port to see a doctor. The old man said "It is not necessary and it would not make the owners of this ship happy to miss the time fishing". The Captain smiled and nodded. The Captain left his room and went to the bridge were he set his course for New York City,NY. When they arrive in port he went to the old man and told him to get up and get dressed because he had a surprise for him.
He met the captain on the deck and was shocked to see him dressed in his finest uniform. All the crew were also dressed as nicely as they could and were saluting him. A tear rolled down the old man's face and he asked "What is this?". The Captain said "I know you are from this city and I want to reward you for your service while you are still able to get around." The old man tried to argue but the Captain insisted so they left the ship and got a cab into the city.
The first stop was a barber shop where they both got a hair cut and a shave and the Captain commented on how much better he looked without that gray scraggly beard!
Their next stop was a fine department store where the Captain bought him a brand new suit. He said "If you're going to be seen with me all day you will have to be dressed appropriately." They put the suit on him and tailored it to fit him perfectly. When he looked in the mirror he saw the man that married his lovely wife so many tears ago. Another tear rolled down his face as he silently thanked God for her and he knew that he would be seeing her again very soon.
The two men then had a very nice dinner at the Russian Tea Room and the Captain began asking him questions about his God, about Jesus and about his Faith. Just like he had done with countless men aboard the ship he shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what God had done in his life....Including send that sip and the Captain to save his life. He explained that Jesus saved him from his sin and also from the grave. The Captain's rough demeanor started to fade and the old man new that Jesus had broken through!
The two men walked through Central Park and continued discussing Jesus. They stopped at a park bench and the Captain sat down....and cried. He told the old man that there was nothing he could do to make up for making him his slave for all those years and was certain that God could not forgive him. The old man got down on his knees and held the Captain's hand and said "I forgive you and God will to if you become Jesus' slave". The old man led the Captain to Christ on that park bench that beautiful summer evening.
The Captain told the old man that he had made arrangements for them to stay in the finest hotel in the city so they hailed a cab and went there. After checking in they went to their rooms and prepared for bed. Each in their own rooms they took the bible out of the night stand and read before nodding off to sleep.
The next morning the captain went to the old man's room to tell him the news he was eagerly waiting to tell him. He knocked on the door and envisioned the look on the old man's face when he would tell him that he was free to go! He knocked again but couldn't hear any noise in the room. He ran to the front desk and got the manager to open the door.
They found him all dressed up in his new suit lying on the bed. He has a note in his hand asking the Captain to give him a service and burial at sea with the crew. He also asked the Captain to continue in his walk with Jesus and to read the bible that the Captain had given him.
It was a bright and clear day and the seas were completely calm. The Captain had purchased new suits for each member of the crew. The old man's closest friend on the ship, the cook, led the funeral service and the buried him at sea as he asked. The Captain said that the old man's room would be a room for prayer as long as he was Captain of that ship. He also said that from this day on God would be the Captain of this ship and that he would merely his Executive Officer. The entire crew cheered and they all went to the old man's room to get it set up as a room for prayer.
When the Captain got to the old man's room he picked up his Bible and opened it to where the book mark was placed. The book mark was actually a note to the captain which read "Thank you for being my Captain until I could return to my Captain in Heaven". The Captain sat on the edge of the old man's bed and read the entire book of John to his crew. The ship continued to catch an abundance of fish for many years to come........